Birla Planetarium Kolkata is a major tourist attraction in the 'city of palaces'. This planetarium in Kolkata set up in 1962 is similar to London planetarium. Shows extending for about an hour are either in English, Hindi, or Bengali. Audience is enthralled by the spectacular show of constellations, zodiacal patterns of the sky, and space probes.
M.P. Birla Planetarium was founded as an educational, research and scientific institution in September 1962 and formally inaugurated in July 1963 by the then Indian Prime Minister Pandit J. L. Nehru. This was the second planetarium to be established in a Commonwealth country and the first in India. The planetarium dome measuring 23 meters in diameter has a seating capacity of 688. At the center is the Carl Zeiss Universal Planetarium Projector.
Regular shows on 'Rashis and Nakshatras' (Zodiacs and stars), 'journey to Antarctica', and 'New View of the Solar System' are held. Daily there are seven shows beginning from 12:30 pm, except for Sundays and holidays when there are nine shows beginning from 10:30 am.
Being an educational institute, M.P. Birla Planetarium in Kolkata conducts various educational programs. It offers a Post Graduate Diploma Course in Astronomy & Planetarium Science. In collaboration with BITS (Birla Institute of Technology and Science),Pilani, M.P. Birla Planetarium conducts a 3-semester M. Phil course in Astronomy and Planetarium Sciences. In addition, it holds free evening course in Astronomy for sky gazers and enthusiasts. To popularize astronomy among school students, M.P. Birla Planetarium arranges discourses and seminars in schools regularly.
Kolkata Birla Planetarium being centrally located is easily accessible from any part of this city. Situated at the junction of Shakespeare Sarani and Cathedral Road, it is reachable by buses, taxis and Metro.